Collyer’s reach knock-out stage of Robot Building Championship

At their first attempt, a team of talented students from Collyer’s last week reached the knock- out stage of the Student Robotics Competition, held annually at the University of Southampton.

Wednesday, 17th April 2013, 9:00 pm
The team, from back row, left to right: Dom O'Connor, Nikita Karandejs, Will Bravery, Issy Parker and Oliver Faircliff and front row left to right: Liam Allen, David Avedissian and James Baker. Picture submitted

‘Team Collyer’s’ were one of 33 teams of students from sixth forms and colleges across Europe who competed to build fully autonomous robots, with the dream of becoming Student Robotics Champions.

Subject leader for computing at Collyer’s, Di Dowling, explained: “Team Collyer’s comprised nine Computer Science and ICT students, who for the past four months have met once a week to build and program their robot.

“Having absolutely no experience of robotics meant that progress was slow and often very frustrating; the last few days of the Easter holidays were spent frantically trying to get the robot ready to compete. “However, we were delighted to qualify for the knock out stage – not bad for a ‘rookie’ team!”

Collybot in action. Picture submitted

Led by a group of students from the Universities of Southampton and Bristol, participating teams had to design, build and test their robots, ready to compete against other teams all vying for the prestigious title.

The challenge this year, entitled ‘A Strange Game’, saw an ambitious and quirky mix of robots all looking to dominate a game of noughts and crosses.

Each robot, equipped with six large cardboard boxes, attempted to take-over squares in a 3x3 grid in the centre of an arena.

The more squares owned in a row or column, the more points a robot scored. Between each of Team Collyer’s 12 matches, the students had time to tweak the robot, which provided a real challenge to the team’s problem solving skills as changes had to be agreed, implemented and tested, often within 30 minutes.

Getting ready to compete. Picture submitted

Di Dowling is already planning for the 2014 Robot Building Championship: “After the prize giving and a lot of photo calls, the team returned to Collyer’s full of stories and ideas.

“It was a hugely enjoyable weekend and we can’t wait to compete again next year!”

Collyer’s Assistant Principal, Melanie Russell, was extremely proud: “We have outstanding ICT and Computing at Collyer’s and these talented students have worked astonishingly hard to be competitive in this international championship.”